The invitation slipped softly through the mailbox this morning. The ornate handwriting and the address was a dead giveaway.

"The White House Washington D.C. The President and Mrs. Obama."

Phew! I'm still on the list.

The hardest invite every year is to the White House Saint Patrick's Day party, presided over by the Irish Prime Minister and the President.

Irish Americans have been known to throw tantrums worthy of Britney Spears when they find they are not on the list. The Irish government had to host a separate party in a downtown hotel last year to somehow mollify those left out.

That was not good enough for one Irish American leader who stood forlornly outside the southeast gate, desperately hoping that some passing influential figure would give him a magic pass.

It didn't happen.

This year, after the shenanigans a few months ago with the gatecrashing couple, it certainly will not happen.

Last year, there were almost as many Obama political friends from Illinois as Irish Americans. No doubt the President thought a Saint Patrick's present to loyal supporters of long standing was a nice gesture.

Consequently, the numbers of Irish Americans was down sharply. The gnashing of teeth could be heard from Boulder to Belfast. Grown men were said to have threatened hara kiri if they were not placed on the list.

Worse, invitations were only offered singly, meaning many wives and husbands had to be left behind. The shrieks could be heard from Boston to Belmullet.

I don't know how many are invited this year, but I do thank the President for ensuring there are no more family splits and that couples are now invited.

Me, I'm a jaded old journalist a lot of the time, but the White House invite remains one of the most-special things in my life. My wife? She's planning the dress already.

Thank you. Mr. President.

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